Northern Arizona

Northern Arizona Twitter


The 2nd Annual NAU Women’s Basketball Grand Canyon hike is in the books. Sunday we hiked 6.5 miles down the South Kaibab Trial to the Colorado River, and hiked 10 miles back up the Bright Angel Trail for our final team building activity of the year. The entire team made it in record time with great memories, and limited blisters . . . but lots of sore muscles.


Our spring workouts start winding down next week as our players prepare for final exams. After finals, our players will head home for a six week summer break. Part of their job while at home will be to take what they’ve learned and achieved in our spring workouts and improve and build on it. In addition to the lifting, agility, and conditioning workouts with our strength coach, Cody Hodgeson, our players have been involved in individual skill development workouts with our coaching staff.

Individual sessions have included shooting, passing, dribbling, post moves, perimeter moves, defensive footwork and positioning, and rebounding. These are all things that happen a lot during a basketball game. The keys to getting better as a team in the offseason are simple: help our current players get better and get better players to fill our open roster spots. One key to getting better is repetition with those things that happen a lot. The second key to getting better is playing against better competition.


When I grew up (a long time ago), playing against better competition almost always meant playing with the boys. Not necessarily because they were more skilled, but because they were generally bigger, faster and stronger. Playing against competition that is bigger, faster and stronger forces you to do things at a higher level . . . handle the ball more deftly, get a shot off more efficiently, play more physically, play with more brains when brawn doesn’t work. Playing with the boys also taught me to be a better rebounder. On the playground, teamwork and passing tend to take a back seat to individual creativity. You learn quickly if you want the ball, you have to go get it.

These days, there are many opportunities to play against better competition. There are now both men AND women who are bigger, faster and stronger. In addition to individual skill workouts, our players will spend their summer break seeking out pick-up games against better competition at YMCA’s, rec centers, playgrounds and on high school and college campuses in their respective hometowns as we make this our most productive offseason ever.


Brittani Lusain is a 5’9 freshman guard from San Diego, California. She will spend the next minute delving into the life of a teammate while also sharing something about herself:



Taylor Leyva, a 5’11 freshman guard from Pueblo, Colorado describes her first time visiting and hiking the Grand Canyon last Sunday: “Inspiring. Challenging. Breathtaking.”


Our goals for the 2013-2014 season:

Win the Big Sky Championship,

Maintain a team GPA of 3.0 or higher,

Perform 150 hours of community service.

Freshman Catelyn Preston (Oregon City, OR) keeps tabs on important dates and numbers for our program. Drumroll please . . .

Days until our 2014-15 Home Opener = 212 (November 14, 2014 vs UC Irvine)

Days until our first 2014-15 Big Sky game = 267 (January 1, 2015 vs Sac State)

Days until the 2014 Big Sky Championship = 333

Days until spring 2014 semester grades are posted = 33

Hours of community service performed to date = 188


Day Camp (Girl’s Ages 8-13) - June 9-12, 2014

Team Camp (JV and Varsity High School and Club Girl’s Teams) - June 13-15, 2014

Elite Camp (Girls grades 9-12) - August 3, 2014

Contact assistant coach, Karlie Burris, for more information: 928-523-9982


Friends of NAU Women’s Basketball, Taylor Leyva, Rene’ Coggins, and Bradlee Cotton, show their Lumberjack Spirit from the cold tub of the Skydome Training Room in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Thanks for your interest in, and support of, NAU Women's Basketball. Until next week please:

1. Follow us on Facebook (, Twitter (@NAU_WBB), and at

2. Wear the Blue and Gold with pride (especially on Friday).

3. If you know of someone not receiving this newsletter who you think might enjoy receiving it, please send me their email address and I will add them to the email list.

4. Make it a great week to be a Lumberjack!

Go Jacks!

Sue Darling

Head Women's Basketball Coach

Northern Arizona University